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Preventing Venous Thromboembolism

The diagnosis of Venous thromboembolism (VTE), or blood clots in veins, covers a range of clinical problems. This can include a blood clot in a calf vein where there are no symptoms, a deep vein clot in the calf (thrombosis or DVT) that causes pain, and pulmonary embolism (PE) where the clot has moved to the lungs. Patients admitted to hospitals with DVT or PE diagnoses have the potential for significant illness and even death. Hospitalized patients are at greater risk of VTE due to:

  • surgery
  • prolonged immobilization
  • use of certain medications
  • the presence of other conditions such as obesity, congestive heart failure, and cancer.

VTE is a leading cause of preventable death in hospitalized patients, with as many as 10% of deaths estimated from PE. Those patients who survive a VTE typically face long-term medical problems and considerable health care costs. Assessing risk and initiating preventive treatments have the potential to save lives, reduce harm, and reduce the cost of care. The National Quality Forum has identified DVT/VTE as a significant patient safety issue and has recommended that each patient be evaluated upon admission, and regularly thereafter, for the risk of developing DVT/VTE.

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth recognizes that the development of DVT/VTE in hospitalized patients can result in harm and even death, increases the chance of readmission after discharge and contributes to increased health care costs. We are dedicated to reducing healthcare-acquired DVT/VTE and have implemented to following measures to reduce the incidence of these life-threatening events:

  • All patients are screened on admission to determine their risk for developing DVT/VTE
  • For patients who are at risk for developing DVT/VTE we implement appropriate preventive measures
  • When patients are prepared for discharge we provide specific instructions on what to watch for and how to prevent the development of DVT/VTE
Updated 3 April 2023
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